How to Carve Wood Animals

Carving an animal in wood

If you are interested in carving in the round, simple animals figures is a good place to start.   With a simple animal figure you can learn while still producing a passable animal carving. Simple skill learned earn will be use later in more intricate carvings.  As your skill increase so will the quality and designs of your wood animals.


Carving a Merlin Falcon

Learning to Carve animals can be easier than you think...with a few tools and an investment of time you can learn to carve any thing you want.  Did you ever want to learn to carve but didn't know how to get started?  Well now, with the advent of the Internet, you can learn to carve by viewing videos over the Internet.


Carving "The Cow Plaque"

This pattern has been designed for the novice wood carver. Basswood would be my choice for this project, however, if you have chosen to use Pine, be certain to seal it with Jo Sonja's Tannin Blocking Sealer prior to painting. Pine will eventually yellow the whites if not properly sealed. As with all pine wood carvings, do not locate the carving where it will be subjected to extreme changes of temperature. Near heat sources or in windows where sun will strike it is to be avoided.


Carving a Trout

Trace the side profile pattern to the wood block. The wood grain direction should run with the length of the fish. Use a square and draw a perpendicular line at the nose and at the tail junction. Continue the perpendicular line on the top and align the top profile. Trace the top profile to top of block. Make sure it is facing the same as the side profile pattern. Cut out the top profile first with a band saw. Enter the cut at the tail and exit the cut at the head then re-enter through the same exit cut. Cut down the other side of the top profile and exit through the entrance cut.


Simplified Mouse

This mouse sprang to life some 12 years ago as a sketch by my partner, Sue, a compulsive doodler of critters, cute and otherwise! At the time I had just begun to carve, so a curly tail was added and he became my second try at in-the-round carving. The original mouse was carved 'diagonally' from a 50mm (2in) turner's blank of walnut. I guess this was to make full use of the meager dimensions, his nose and tail tucked into the corners. Whatever the reason, the old fellow is still distinctly diamond-shaped when viewed from above.


Carve a Stylized Jack Russell

Plywood has the advantage that a carving of a good size can be made by gluing up as many layers that are needed to make the required block, and the lamination not only give strength to sections of the carving that would normally be short grained and possibly easily broken, but also give the finished piece an added interest.


Carve this Amazing Gecko

During a recent reference-gathering trip to South Africa, as well as the more obvious sightings of the larger indigenous wildlife - elephants, lions, hyena, hippo etc - it was some of the smaller inhabitants that captured my imagination as potential subjects for sculpture. One such denizen of the veldt that failed to escape the sharp eye and the sharper Opticron binoculars of my wife was the gravity-defying gecko. Due to their ability to cling with ease to a vertical surface, I thought that a gecko would make an ideal, wall mounted carving, which could be easily produced as a carving project.


Enliven your Polar Bear Carving

It is very easy when planning a carving to fall into the trap of searching for a suitable photograph in a magazine and trying to copy what you see. Many carvers are so set on getting all the anatomy somewhere near correct that they lose the essence of the subject. This need not be the case. Simply study your subject and have confidence that you can carve it to your own design. Then it is matter of making sure you are clear in your own mind exactly what it is that you hope to produce. In this case it was the playful side of a young polar bear.


Animal Photo Archive

Collection of animal photos to help guide your animal carvings.


Hand Carving a Simple Reindeer


Carve this rustic deer as a stand-alone project or size the pattern to create the perfect complement to your favorite carved Santa. Use twigs for the antlers to add to the rustic charm and simplify the carving process. I use knives, chisels, and gouges to carve the deer, leaving the tool marks visible. Use power carving tools or sand away the tool marks and wood-burn fur texture for a more realistic reindeer. Create a herd of deer and give one a red nose in honor of Santa’s favorite reindeer, Rudolph. Add leather reins and position the deer in front of a sleigh for a dramatic mantel display.



Carving a Horse


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